Arkansas guard Manny Watkins speaks to the ...
My MotherBetty Jean Davenport was born Sept. 3, 1932 and went to be with the Lord on Nov. 16, 2008.
My mother raised my four sisters and me by herself. She instilled a strong worth ethic, morals and compassion for others. She raised us to judge an individual based on character, not by race or gender. Whatever good I possess is rooted in my mother’s teachings and unbelievable love.
I remember my mom taking me to my first baseball practice at the age of 7 and my hiding behind her crying as she talked to Coach Al Holloway because I was so painfully shy.
I remember her transporting me to every baseball practice after leaving the day shift at the Teletype (later AT&T) plant and then going home to cook dinner.
I remember her making every game I played, unless she worked the night shift.
I remember her getting a pillow and kneeling on her knees to catch for me as I practiced pitching in our back yard.
I remember her thinking of her family before herself.
I remember her waking me up and having my clothes laid out every morning during my first years in grade school.
I remember it being just her and me in the house after my sisters moved out in the fourth grade.
I remember going to the Shack BBQ restaurant in downtown Little Rock as a kid and only being allowed to get a pork sandwich instead of beef because it was five cents cheaper.
I remember in the sixth grade at Cloverdale Elementary getting out of school at 2:55 and running to the bike rack and riding as fast as I could the one mile home, so I could see my mom for five minutes before she left for the night shift which began at 3:30.
I remember her taking me fishing at the lake at Boyle Park.
I remember her taking me to see the Arkansas Travelers at Ray Winder Field.
I remember what a treat it was when she and I went to eat at the McDonald’s on University Avenue.
I remember her working either the night or graveyard shift and still coming to our second grade classroom to observe on parent day.
I remember her helping me with my homework despite working all day and making our family dinner.
I remember her never complaining.
I remember her, along with my sister and brother-in-law, taking me to my first Razorbacks game against North Texas State on Oct. 28, 1972.
I remember the Razorbacks brought so much joy to my mother until the very day of her passing.
I remember her resorting to tidying up the house during a Hog basketball or football game, unable to watch because the games made her too nervous.
I remember taking her to Bud Walton Arena in 1993 for the Delaware State game and seeing her bob her head to the music of the Razorback pep band.
I remember her praying that I meet someone like my wife, Megan, so I would have someone to share my life with and stand beside me during difficult times.
I remember as a teenager going to her bedroom and laying on her bed to talk to her about the day as she read the paper before going to sleep.
I remember her being so proud when I was hired to write two columns a week for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and cutting out every column and article I ever wrote and saving them.
I remember calling her every Thursday night after being on the Shawn and Wally Show and discussing the show. She even recorded the shows so she could listen to them later.
I remember taking her an autographed Shawn and Wally t-shirt and seeing her smile because she loved listening to them so much.
I remember her being apprehensive about moving from a townhouse to a much smaller style apartment at The Cottages at Otter Creek, but how she absolutely adored living there the last seven years of her life.
I remember her looking forward to playing games in the community room with her beloved friends every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon.
I remember taking her out to lunch for her 76th birthday and making sure she was back home in time to play her coveted games.
I remember being able to call her if I ever needed a lift and feeling everything would be alright after speaking with her.
I remember calling her every night before she went to bed to say goodnight and that I loved her. I’ll miss making that call.